Mavis Bank seeks bigger share of coffee market
Mavis Bank Coffee Factory will launch a new product, Jablum Gift Box, in July 2022. It will be available at Jablumcoffee.com.

DIRECTORS of Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited (MBCF) have indicated that the company is working on growing its roasted coffee business and expanding the green bean market segment. The MBCF produces roasted coffee under the Jablum brand. MCBF also markets its coffee under the Wallenford and True Brew brands.

The push comes as demand grows for Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, of which MBCF is among the largest local processors. While market prices remain static from large buyer Japan, all coffee produced of marketable quality is finding buyers, another source close to the company said.

The company's Managing Director and CEO Norman Grant shared with the Jamaica Observer that Mavis Bank will be expanding its specialty coffee lines, noting, "We have appointed a new USA distributor to expand reach; this is MM LLC whose principals include Delroy McLennon. They will be distributing all our Jablum Coffee, Wallenford and True Brew products through the websites associated with our company, which are Jablum coffee.com, Buybluemountaincoffee.com and Wallenford.com." A new product, Jablum Gift Box, will be launched in July 2022.

The company, he stated, is also looking to expand and deepen its reach into Japan. "We are generally diversifying all other markets," Grant outlined.

Mavis Bank is additionally looking to increase value-added lines, partnering with a number of local hotels including the new ROK Hotel in Kingston which will carry Jablum in the main property and in its cafe. MBCF is also partnering with Chukka Island Village in Ocho Rios for the 'Jablum Jamaica Expereince', a product line for visitors on the North Coast and tourists who come in on cruise ships.

Grant added, "We are additionally partnering with Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour."

Grant noted meanwhile, "For the 2021 to 2022 crop year, payment to farmers had climbed from $3,500 per box to between $7000 and $8,500 per box in the current year."

Mavis Bank was affected by the closure of the tourism industry in 2020.

The company is a subsidiary of Speciality Coffee Investments Company Limited (SCI), owned by Michael Lee-Chin whose other investment company, AIC International Investments, bought Wallenford Coffee Company for US$16 million ($1.6 billion) in 2013.

Wallenford was once the island's other major Blue Mountain coffee producer. Production is now centred at Mavis Bank.

At peak performance in the last decade, revenues amounted to $1.4 billion annually. Howeve, since then they have been declining steadily.

Management shares that in 2020, Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited saw a decline in sales due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The company, since early 2022, refinanced existing debt with $1.8 billion raised through the JMMB Capital Markets unit. It is now targeting improvement in operating performance.

Management outlined that the performance has been fuelled by the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, with a significant improvement in the company's performance projected going forward, especially with resumption in tourism activities in Jamaica.

Management notes that aggressive cost control management is another strategy being implemented by Mavis Bank.

SCI, parent company to MBCF, was incorporated in Jamaica on September 13, 2016 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wallenford Limited (parent company), which is incorporated in Barbados.

The ultimate parent of the company is Portland Holdings Limited, incorporated in Ontario and controlled by Michael Lee-Chin. Its principal

activity is that of a holding company, holding investments in the Jamaican coffee business through Mavis Bank Coffee Factory (MBCF).

Established in 1923, MBCF still claims to be the leading supplier of Blue Mountain Coffee. MBCF, on average, processes over 1 million pounds of green beans from approximately 6,000 farmers per year, management outlines.

Avia Collinder

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